The London 2012 Olympic games ended on 12 August after two and a half weeks of fun and games. It was not just some of the athletes that were celebrating. Satellite companies (e.g. Eutelsat, Intelsat etc) got a windfall from all the extra leasing of their transponders to cover the demands in this high definition multi-channel age. For example, the BBC had 24 live channels covering the Olympics on satellite, online and freeview terrestrial services.
The “molten” Olympic rings are raised in the air at the opening ceremony. Courtesy: London 2012
With so many channels it was hard to choose what to watch. Some mainline sports were surprisingly sidelined onto back up channels rather than being on the main flagship station. This included the men’s and woman’s javelin competition – a move that would have been unthinkable in games past. Nevertheless, the BBC did the best it could to keep everyone happy. In doing so, it made amends for its much criticised Jubilee coverage earlier in the year and was congratulated for its very professional sports broadcast. It was not just in the UK that the broadcasters were smiling. In USA, NBC reported excellent viewing figures despite some criticism of its Olympic viewing choices.
With respect to the actual sporting competition, after a panicky start Team GB, managed to come a very creditable third in the medal table (after USA and China) with 29 gold medals. Of course, many of these were due to Britain’s domination of the sitdown events: cycling and rowing.
While, proud of this achievment, in truth, the British public might just have traded some of these to have a superstar runner like Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. He made history by retaining his 100 and 200m sprint gold metals and taking team gold breaking the world record in the 100m relay. His practice of sometimes slowing down on the line to make a crowd-pleasing wave just might have cost him more world records.
While Jamaica dominated the sprint track events, Team GB did have some wonderful moments in the athetics arena itself: most significanly in the dual golds taken by Mo Farah in the 5000 and 10,000m races.
Mo Farah and Usain Bolt mimic each others victory signs at London 2012 Olympics. Courtesy: London 2012
While the achievements of all the competitors are too numerous to mention here – we especially congratulate Nicola Adams who took the first ever gold medal in women’s boxing for Team GB (in the Fly 51kg class). In doing so, she broke down a few more equality barriers and showed that women can fight equally as well as the men. Women’s boxing became one of the surpising hits of the games.
Nicola Adams wins gold in the Fly class at the London Olympics women boxing. Courtesy: London 2012
With respect to the games’ organisation, while there were few moans about its privately supplied security arrangements (the British Army saved the day) and complaints about its ticket allocation and selling system, the London 2012 Olympics organisers and its legion of volunteers have much to be proud about. From the brilliant opening ceremony onwards, most athletes, spectators and billions of TV viewers had a wonderful time.
Even the once-criticised graffiti-like Olympic logo became popular as it was easily recognised on direction signs to the venues. Courtesy: London 2012
The International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge declared the London 2012 Olympic Games to have been ”happy and glorious”. In that final assessment he was right.